26 November 2015

Blog Tour: Never Kiss A Man In A Christmas Jumper by Debbie Johnson

Today I am thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for Debbie Johnson's brilliant new book with publishers Harper Impulse, called Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper! I was lucky enough to get a Netgalley copy a few weeks ago and have read it already, and it was just brilliant - the perfect Christmas read! My review will be coming in December, but until then, Debbie was kind enough to write a post about her favourite Christmas songs. Thanks to Debbie and her publishers for asking me to be part of the blog tour, enjoy reading!

"My latest book – Never Kiss A Man In A Christmas Jumper – is set entirely over the festive period. There are snow storms and pine trees and inflatable Santas and white weddings and carols and oodles of romance – and hopefully you won’t be able to guess that it was all written during a steaming hot summer!

I know it doesn’t feel like we had much of a summer, but there was an absolutely scorching period in June and early July that had everyone rooting out their sandals and reaching for the suncream. I was literally coming home from doing the school run, baking hot, opening all the windows, then trying to settle down to write about wintery streets, blizzards, and snowmen!

One of the best ways I found to get in the right mood was by listening to Christmas songs. I had a list of my favourites, and would let them play in the background while I worked. It was especially useful for one of the scenes, where my hero and heroine, Marco and Maggie, are attending a wedding party together – it’s a big, fat Christmas wedding, and the DJ is rocking some classic tunes to get everyone up on the dancefloor!

I’m sure we’ve always been to parties like that, and they’re always brilliant – never cool, rarely stylish, but always masses of fun! And that’s what Christmas songs are all about – I have a friend who is very intelligent, very poised, but whenever she’s at a ‘do’ in December, starts yelling ‘Play the Christmas songs!’ at the top of her usually well-controlled voice after a couple of drinks! If you’ve not staggered around a dancefloor drunk, clutching your friends’ hands as you do high kicks to I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, you’ve not lived!

So, to get us all in the mood, here’s my list of absolute Christmas crackers:

1, Last Christmas by Wham!: Okay, I’m showing my age here, I realise – but I got my heart broken to this song at a school disco way back in the last century. It was devastating at the time, but – as is the way with these things – quite amusing now. Still, whenever I hear this song, it’s like I’m being whisked back in a time machine to when I was 15 again – it’s schmaltzy, it’s sentimental, and it’s perfect!

2, The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood: There’s a bit of an 80s theme developing here, isn’t there? But I still love this song – in fact, I love it now more than ever. It’s completely epic, with the orchestral feel of the music and the vocals and the lyrics all combining to create something huge and spiritual – it’s a song you can totally get swept away in. Listen to it in the dark, or maybe by candle light, and be reminded of  all that’s great about love!

3, Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl: Who doesn’t love this? Despite it’s dark lyrics and the abusive way Kirsty and Shane rasp away at each other, it’s just brilliant. You know you’re not getting a normal dose of Christmas joy when a song starts in a drunk tank, and the singers call each other faggots and maggots! Both bittersweet and simply bitter, it’s an absolute antidote to anything too soppy – and one of the best bouncing-up-and-down-during-the-chorus songs ever!

4,  Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid: Is it just me, or do loads of the best Christmas songs definitely come from the 80s? I can’t escape the decade! But you can’t do a Christmas song list without this, can you? Not only was it the song that inspired a generation to do something for charity – even if it was just buy a single – it also featured some of the biggest and best stars of its time. All that aside, I think it stands up today – it still feels emotional and fresh, and, sadly, it’s message is still very relevant today.

5, Stay Another Day by East 17: Phew, at least I’ve made it to the 90s! I was never a huge E17 fan in general, but this is a great song. It sounds so orchestral, the singing is almost angelic, and the lyrics are so heartfelt. Plus it had that really funny video where they were all in special effect snow in hugely furry white parkas..."

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